1 Corinthians 12.12-31 – January 20, 2020

1 Corinthians 12.12-31

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12.12-31, NIV)

Each of us makes up a part of a larger whole and each one of us is important.

Thought Questions:

Why is it easy for people to think someone else’s gift or ability is better than our own? What factors into your evaluating someone else as better?

In what ways do you see yourself as a part of the body of Christ? Of the body at meets together here on this earth?

How do you use your gifts to support and encourage others?

Deuteronomy 31.1-8 – January 17, 2020

Deuteronomy 31.1-8

Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said. And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31.1-8, NIV)

“Moses empowers Joshua as he takes over to help lead the Israelites, and reminds him that God is always with him.”

Thought Questions:

How do you live your life differently knowing that “God goes before you?” What are some specific ways that impacts your decision making and thoughts?

What are you afraid of? How might Moses’ instructions here relieve you of that fear? Why are we afraid if God is with us?

In what ways can you be strong and courageous today as you go about your day?

Jeremiah 29.11 – January 16, 2020

Jeremiah 29.11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29.11, NIV)

“It was my dad’s favorite and he would tell me and my sister this verse a lot. It means a ton to me to this day.”

Thought Questions:

When the future looks uncertain to you, how important is it to know that God knows you and what is to come for you?

Why do you think some people hold a view that God is simply waiting for you to do something wrong so that he can punish you … that he really doesn’t want what’s best for you or even enjoys bringing calamity upon you? How can you show others a better picture of God, that he loves and wants good for us?

How can we be faithful to the future God has for us, even when it may be different from the one we might plan for ourselves?

Deuteronomy 29.12-15 – January 15, 2020

Deuteronomy 29.12-15

You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 14 I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you 15 who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.”  (Deuteronomy 29.12-15, NIV)

A covenant is not something that is put into place based on a “contract” in which both party have equal say, but it is made by an entity stronger than the one receiving the covenant, yet it is a promise that the stronger will look out for the weaker’s best interest. God did not make us his people and enter into a covenant with us because of what we had done, but because of who he is and what he not only did … but continues to do.

Thought Questions:

How important is it for us to realize that God makes a covenant with us out of his power, not out of our ability to follow him?

How well do you keep the promises you have made to others, especially those made years ago?

How does knowing you are in a covenant with God affect the ways you live for him?

Proverbs 20.3 – January 14, 2020

Proverbs 20.3

“It is one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” (Proverbs 20.3, NIV)

Society tells us we need to defend everything we believe, no matter what. This verse tells us that only fools like to pick fights, and it is a mark of good character to not quarrel. To me it means, it matches up with: “We can’t chose what people say to us, but we can chose how we react.” To me, Jesus exemplified this verse throughout his whole life. Its hard for me not to feel like I need to fight for my beliefs, but then I remember this verse and how Jesus reacted in times he could have quarreled. He was a great leader and spread love through living out his beliefs, not defending/quarreling about them.

Thought Questions:

In our current culture, how important does it seem for people to try to avoid strife? What examples can you give that support your thinking?

What examples have you seen that demonstrate that those who are quick to quarrel look like fools?

What practical tips would you give to someone seeking to find ways to avoid quarrels and strife? How well do you practice these things?

Acts 4.23-31 – January 13, 2020

Acts 4.23-31

On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.”

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (Romans 12.1-2, NIV)

What would it have been like to pray in such a manner that the entire room in which you were in was shaken?

Thought Questions:

Peter and John actually rejoiced that they had been worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus and asked God to let them speak boldly, not in such a way so as to be effective without causing too much attention. How do you think you would have responded in a similar circumstance? What is the same and what is different about your response?

When have you been required to speak boldly, knowing that there would be some sort of repercussion if you did? How did you handle that situation?

What do you think is required of us to be so in tune with God in our prayers that something miraculous like the building being shaken might be a result? Why do we tend to assume that such an act is beyond possibility today?

Romans 12.1-21 – January 12, 2020

Romans 12.1-21

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to text and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12.1-2, NIV)

What do you consider worship? The things you do on a Sunday morning between 9:00 and 12:00? Or is it everything you do throughout every day?

Thought Questions:

Why is it so easy for us to conform to the pattern of this world? How can we do a better job of NOT conforming?

You are unique and have a special part in the body of Christ! How are you using those gifts and talents that are uniquely yours to build up and bless others?

As you read through Romans 12.9-21, which of those things might you be able to practice better as you work to encourage others?